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John Olatunji Adeoti | Julius Agbor | Mbaye Diene | Richard Joseph | Anne Kamau
Stephen N. Karingi | Mwangi S. Kimenyi | John M. Mbaku | Nelipher Moyo | John Page
Jessica Smith | Vera Songwe | Olumide Taiwo | Carlene Van Der Westhuizen
For Africa to achieve transformative progress, policy solutions must come from African sources. The Africa Growth Initiative
brings together African scholars to provide policymakers with high-quality research, expertise and innovative solutions
that promote Africas economic development. The Initiative also collaborates with research partners in the region to raise
the African voice in global policy debates on Africa. Our mission is to deliver research from an African perspective that
informs sound policy, creating sustained economic growth and development for the people of Africa.
The Following AGI Partner Think Tanks Also Contributed to this Publication:
Center for Social and Economic Research in Senegal (CRES)
Development Policy Research Unit at the University of Cape Town in South Africa (DPRU)
Nigerian Institute for Social and Economic Research (NISER)
Acknowledgements: The Africa Growth Initiative would like to thank Zenia Lewis and Brandon Routman for their invaluable
research support on this publication, as well as Heather Cabral, Anne Moulton and Andrew Westbury for their coordination
efforts. We would also like to thank the Brookings Global Economy and Development program for its continued guidance and
support for the Initiative, as well as Kirsten Gilbert and Mao-Lin Shen for their editorial assistance.
Foreword: 2011 in Retrospect ............................................................................................................. i
Mwangi S. Kimenyi
Introduction ......................................................................................................................................... 1
ChinaAfrica Relations: Defning New Terms of Engagement ........................................................... 3
Vera Songwe and Nelipher Moyo
Consolidating Africas Regional Integration Efforts ............................................................................ 6
Mwangi S. Kimenyi and Stephen N. Karingi
Sub-Saharan Africas Youth Bulge: A Demographic Dividend or Disaster? ....................................... 9
Julius Agbor, Olumide Taiwo and Jessica Smith
Enhancing Africas Voice in Global Governance ............................................................................. 12
Mwangi S. Kimenyi and Nelipher Moyo
A New Agenda for Aid to Africa ........................................................................................................15
John Page
Securing a Productive South Sudan.................................................................................................18
John M. Mbaku and Jessica Smith
Minimizing the Impact of the Global Economic Slowdown on Africa ................................................ 21
Julius Agbor and Anne Kamau
Insecurity and Counter-Insurgency in Africa .....................................................................................23
Richard Joseph
Strategies for Improving Food Security in Africa ............................................................................. 26
Vera Songwe
Country Snapshot Senegal: Strategies to Integrate Youth into the Labor Market ........... 29
Mbaye Diene
Country Snapshot Nigeria: Key Policy Priorities to Unlock Growth Potential ................. 31
John Olatunji Adeoti
Country Snapshot South Africa: Economic Growth, Poverty and Inequality ................... 33
Carlene Van Der Westhuizen
Country Snapshot Kenya: The Make or Break Year ............................................................ 35
Mwangi S. Kimenyi
The Brookings Institution Africa Growth Initiative i
Mwangi S. Kimenyi
n January 2011, the Brookings Africa Growth Initiative
(AGI) launched Foresight Africaa compilation of policy
briefs examining the key issues and events that we con-
sidered to be most important for Africas economic, political
and social development during the course of 2011. While it is
not entirely possible to gauge the extent to which individuals,
governments and organizations took heed of the policy rec-
ommendations we proposed in Foresight Africa, we can look
back and evaluate whether the insights we offered a year
ago turned out to be relevant during this past year.
Broadly, one set of briefs focused on the opportunities that
Africa could exploit to accelerate its development. These
opportunities included: solidifying democracy through
democratic elections; the potential to leapfrog development
through technology adoption; promoting aid effectiveness
to improve development outcomes; the rise of new major
development partners such as Brazil, Russia, India and
China (BRICs); and new discoveries of natural resources.
The briefs also highlighted the risks associated with not put-
ting the right policies in place. For example, AGI warned of
possible confict if elections were not managed properly in
2011. Likewise, while the BRICs presented African coun-
tries with a great opportunity to advance economic coop-
eration, we argued for the need to manage these new rela-
tionships with transparency, especially in the area of natural
resource extraction.
The other set of briefs focused on how potential challenges
in Africa could be turned into opportunities for growth if ap-
propriate actions were taken. These challenges included:
ongoing and new conficts across the region; a changing
climate and severe droughts; creating a competitive envi-
ronment for business and trade; managing migration across
national borders; improving governance and the war on
corruption. These challenges were considered among the
most crucial issues that would impact economic develop-
ment on the continent.
Looking back, the 2011 Foresight Africa publication was
certainly insightful. The expansion of mobile phone tech-
nologies was a signifcant contributor to GDP in many Af-
rican countries; the BRICs, especially China, continued to
expand their presence in Africa with many new investments
in infrastructure projects; efforts to reduce the barriers to
the movement of goods and people across national bor-
ders dominated the African Unions agenda; conficts in So-
malia, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo
continued to hamper development efforts; and good gov-
ernanceespecially the fght against corruptionwas of
particular concern for most African governments.
ii Foresight Africa: Top Priorities for the Continent in 2012
Two issues discussed in Foresight Africa 2011 stand out
as especially relevant over this past year: democratic
elections and climate change. Broadly speaking, Africas
year of elections saw most polls and ballots conducted in
a transparent manner and with no chaos. Many elections
resulted in smooth changes in leadership like in Zam-
bia. In the case of Sudan, we witnessed the creation of
the worlds newest country, South Sudan. Yet, there were
signifcant problem areas. For example, during the 2010
Ivory Coast elections then incumbent President Laurent
Gbagbo refused to accept the results after defeat, which
resulted in an escalation of confict throughout the frst
half of 2011. More recently, insuffcient preparations
resulted in the highly disputed outcomes of the DRCs
presidential elections. Other examples where the elec-
tion outcomes were disputed by losing candidates in-
clude Cameroon and Liberia. The 2011 Foresight Africa
publication detailed the importance of suffcient election
preparation and it is apparent that some of the elections
produced undemocratic results because of inadequate
investment in the electoral processes.
The damaging impact of climate change on Africa was an-
other big issue that we highlighted a year ago, which un-
fortunately came to fruition this past year. One of the worst
droughts in over a decade occurred in the Horn of Africa, re-
sulting in a famine that cost the lives of tens of thousands of
people and forced camps throughout the region to be flled
with thousands of refugees through the end of 2011. The
cost of the famine revealed major weaknesses in several
African governments and the preparedness of the interna-
tional community to deal with such catastrophes.
Overall, Foresight Africa was on the mark in forecast-
ing the most important issues that impacted Africa in
2011. Nevertheless, we failed to identify the potential for
revolutions in North Africa. However, AGI was not alone
in this; few countries, organizations and individuals re-
ally saw the popular uprisings of the Arab Spring com-
ing. While it was diffcult to have predicted the speed by
which the changes occurred in those countries, a careful
analysis of those societiesespecially in regard to their
democratic defcitsshould have revealed that all was
not well.
The issues highlighted in Foresight Africa 2011 will re-
main important in 2012 and beyond. The 2012 edition
of Foresight Africa examines the top priorities, concerns
and policy recommendations for the continent in the com-
ing year. It is our hope that this years publication will
help African policymakers, development agencies, the
private sector, civil society and the international commu-
nity better prepare to seize opportunities and to mitigate
risks that could reverse the progress Africa has achieved
over the last few decades.
The Brookings Institution Africa Growth Initiative 1
his past year, Africa and the rest of the world wit-
nessed many signifcant events that have created
consequential challenges for the future of Africa
and the global economy. Most notably, these included
the economic slowdown in Europe and the United States,
the Arab Spring in the Middle East and North Africa, in-
stability and unrest in a number of Sub-Saharan African
countries, and severe drought and famine in the Horn
of Africa. While 2011 has certainly proven to be diffcult
for Africa and other regions, there were also develop-
ments that have helped many African countries manage
the negative impacts of these challenges. These devel-
opments included: high commodity prices, which helped
boost trade returns in Africas commodity-rich countries;
economic and governance reforms in several African
states, which helped strengthen democratic rights and
improve livelihoods; and a deepening of regional inte-
gration efforts, which helped stimulate growth across
the continent.
Looking at 2012, experts from the Brookings Africa Growth
Initiative (AGI) and colleagues from think tanks based in
the region have come together to produce this years issue
of Foresight Africa, where they outline the top priorities for
the continent for 2012 and beyond. AGI scholars assess
what they see as the major challenges for Africa in the com-
ing year and provide policy recommendations on how to
manage these challenges and leverage opportunities to
catalyze and reignite growth in 2012. Similarly, AGI and its
partner think tanks identify country-specifc challenges in
Nigeria, South Africa, Senegal and Kenya.
ChinaAfrica Relations: Dening New
Terms of Engagement
Vera Songwe and Nelipher Moyo examine the China-Af-
rica relationship. They argue that in 2012 African countries
must articulate a comprehensive China policy that goes be-
yond trade to include issues of industrialization, agriculture,
labor markets and politics.
Consolidating Africas Regional Integration Efforts
Mwangi S. Kimenyi and Stephen N. Karingi suggest that
regional integration has the potential to achieve signifcant
progress in 2012 if African governments and regional eco-
nomic communities can increase coordination.
2 Foresight Africa: Top Priorities for the Continent in 2012
Sub-Saharan Africas Youth Bulge: A Demographic
Dividend or Disaster?
Julius Agbor, Olumide Taiwo and Jessica Smith ana-
lyze the implications of the growing youth population in
Sub-Saharan Africa. They emphasize that African gov-
ernments must heed the example set by the youth-led
Arab Spring and push for greater inclusion of young
people into their economies to avoid political instability in
their own countries.
Enhancing Africas Voice in Global Governance
Mwangi S. Kimenyi and Nelipher Moyo discuss Africas
need for further inclusion in global governance, as deci-
sions made by the developed world have large implications
for the continent. They outline recommendations for Africa
to increase its voice and infuence in global governance,
stressing the need for a more inclusive framework to ad-
dress the worlds problems.
A New Agenda for Aid to Africa
John Page stresses that 2012 is likely to be a year in which
aid to Africa will fall and a new aid agenda will be needed.
Page argues that after years of neglect donors need to fo-
cus on creating good jobs in Africa by shifting away from
low impact regulatory reforms toward addressing the bind-
ing constraints to Africas competitiveness.
Securing a Productive South Sudan
John M. Mbaku and Jessica Smith assess forthcoming
challenges for South Sudan in 2012. They recommend a
broad set of policy interventions to help South Sudan man-
age the common pool resources of water and oil.
Minimizing the Impact of the Global Economic
Slowdown on Africa
Julius Agbor and Anne Kamau analyze the impacts of the
global economic slowdown on Sub-Saharan Africa and dis-
cuss what African governments can do to better handle the
ups and downs of global markets and the macroeconomic
environment in 2012.
Insecurity and Counter-Insurgency in Africa
Richard Joseph reviews the threats stemming from the
statelessness of Somalia, the need for political reconfgura-
tion in Sudan, and the potential for confict in Nigeria.
Strategies for Improving Food Security in Africa
Vera Songwe examines the burden posed by constant fuc-
tuations in food prices on African farmers. Songwe explores
how implementing communal storage warehouses for food
and agricultural products can help mitigate problems of
food price volatility and identifes the next steps for African
governments and the private sector.
The Brookings Institution Africa Growth Initiative 3
Vera Songwe and Nelipher Moyo
The Priority
African countries weathered the global economic crisis
fairly well due in large part to a shift away from their tradi-
tional trading partnersprimarily the United States and the
European Uniontoward China, India and other emerging
markets. In order to sustain economic growth over the next
few years, African countries must continue to cultivate and
build on these new and promising economic relationships.
China, in particular, has emerged as an important and dy-
namic export destination for Africa. Chinas share of exports
from Africa has increased signifcantly over the last decade
from 3 percent in 1998 to 15 percent in 2008. In 2009, Chi-
na overtook the United States to become Africas largest
trading partner. Recognizing the growing importance of the
China-Africa relationship, the Chinese government outlined
its Africa policy in a 2006 white paper. Over the last decade,
the China-Africa relationship has been dictated by Chinas
interest in Africas natural resources. But for African coun-
tries to maximize the potential benefts from this partner-
ship, African governments must articulate their own com-
prehensive China policy, which should include strategies for
engagement beyond natural resources.
Why Is It Important?
In the fall of 2012, China will undergo a major transition
in leadership. Xi Jinping, Chinas current vice president,
is expected to replace Hu Jintao as general secretary of
the Chinese Communist Party and as president of Chi-
na. With this change comes a new generation of Chinese
leaders, the rise of ffth generation. Seven out of nine
members of the Standing CommitteeChinas most pow-
erful decision-making bodywill also be replaced. The
previous generations of Chinas leaders were focused on
growing the countrys economy. However, now that China
has emerged as an economic superpowerthe second
largest economy in the worldpolicy changes made by
the new generation of leadership will have broader impli-
cations for China and the world.
With this change in Chinas leadership comes an opportuni-
ty for African governments to expand the scope of their en-
gagement with China. In 2012, African leaders must articu-
late well-defned objectives and strategies to guide the next
decade of their countries relationship with China. Failure to
do so will be a missed opportunity for both China and Africa.
4 Foresight Africa: Top Priorities for the Continent in 2012
What Needs to Happen in 2012?
Chinas growth trajectory over the next decade could be
critical for Africas development. With an increasingly fa-
vorable business environment in Africa, China could help
sustain and accelerate the continents growth. Chinas
economy is projected to grow at a slower rate in 2012 due
to a fall in exports to the U.S. and Europe. However, rising
domestic consumption in China may bode well for Africa as
it could sustain Chinas demand for African exports. There
are some risks however; a sustained slowdown in exports
from China to the U.S. and the EU would certainly impact
Africa primarily through a drop in Chinas demand for Afri-
can exports.
In order to capitalize on the economic opportunities of the
growing China-Africa relationship, African countries should
take on the following policy recommendations in 2012:
Increase Market Access and Export Capacity in
New Industries
Over the next year, Africa should take advantage of in-
creased trade with China to gain greater access into Asian
markets more broadly and diversify the African regions ex-
port products. African governments should advocate for no
tariffs on their exports to China as well as lower rules of
origin requirements. Chinas current rules of origin require
that 40 percent of the value-added be from the exporting
African country; unfortunately this is much higher than the
manufacturing capacity of many countries in the region.
For their part, African countries must increase the com-
petitiveness of their existing exports and at the same
time develop their export capacity in new industries. This
will require substantial technology transfer and invest-
ment. Here, African countries can learn from China, as
the Chinese government has had very successful experi-
ences with implementing policies that support technology
transfer from foreign investors to local Chinese frms. In
the 1980s, the Chinese government put in place local la-
bor, content and ownership requirements to ensure that
there was opportunity for knowledge transfer from foreign
to local frms in China. This policy had signifcant suc-
cess and allowed Chinese businesses to increase their
productive capacity. Similarly, African countries should
examine whether such requirements could also enhance
the capacity of African businesses. More effective collab-
oration and knowledge sharing between Chinese and Af-
rican businesses and governments would certainly help
take this forward. In addition, increased Chinese invest-
ment in Africas emerging industries could help integrate
the continent into global production chains and deepen
industrial development.
Improve Infrastructure
Poor infrastructure across the continent is one of the pri-
mary barriers to development and trade in Africa. It is
estimated that Africa has an infrastructure fnancing gap
of about $31 billion annually. China can actually help to
bridge this gap. Chinese investment in African infrastruc-
ture has increased from $4.5 billion in 2007 to $9 billion in
2010; China is by far the fastest growing external source
of infrastructure fnancing for the continent (Schiere and
Rugamba, 2011). China is also helping to make it cheap-
er for African countries to improve their infrastructure by
offering lower project costs.
To maximize Chinas growing investments in African in-
frastructure, African governments must steer infrastruc-
ture investment toward maintenance as well as new
infrastructure development. It is estimated African coun-
tries have lost more than half of their road networks since
independence due to poor maintenance. In 2012, African
leaders should look for ways to engage China for better
maintenance of the regions infrastructure. Furthermore,
African governments must ensure that infrastructure de-
velopment projects are not only concentrated around ex-
tractive industries, but that they also facilitate the devel-
opment of new industries.
Create Jobs and Reduce Youth Unemployment
Strong demand from China and increased access to its
markets could help Africa deal with its growing youth un-
employment problem if a more robust manufacturing sec-
tor develops on the continent. On average, youth unem-
ployment in Sub-Saharan Africa is over 20 percent and is
expected to increase over the next decade. Africa should
follow the example of East Asia, where a rapid demo-
graphic transition between 1965 and 1990 occurred at a
time when strong educational systems and trade liberal-
ization enabled countries in the region to absorb the boom
generation into the workforce. Similarly, African govern-
The Brookings Institution Africa Growth Initiative 5
ments should look for innovative ways to absorb unem-
ployed youth into the labor market.
The Arab Spring showed governments around the world
that problems of youth unemployment cannot be ignored.
African governments must therefore prioritize job creation
and leverage their relationship with China to help tackle
the unemployment problem. Chinas demand for African
exports coupled with its investments in infrastructure in Af-
rica could help to create jobs for youth in the region. While
African countries must invest in education and health, in-
vesting in infrastructure and creating a conducive business
environment are a top priority. To spur job creation, African
governments should offer various incentives including tax
breaks to foreign frms that create local jobs for Africans.
Conversely, African governments should discourage the
use of external workers by foreign frms for basic tasks that
can be performed by local workers. This will help to ensure
that Africa does not miss out on the job creating potential of
Chinas increasing investment.
Strengthen Governance
In light of the growing importance of the relationship with Chi-
na, it is essential that the African leadership and governance
structures that manage these relationships are robust. The
nature and strengths of these institutions will ensure that the
China-Africa relationship is a sustainable and equitable one.
African governments must conduct their business with Chi-
na in an open and transparent manner, beginning with full
public disclosure of all major contracts in the extractive in-
dustries. Many African countries have signed on to the Ex-
tractives Industries Transparency Initiative. Yet, numerous
deals continue to be concluded without any public scrutiny.
It is also in Chinas interest to deal with strong and trans-
parent institutions in Africa to protect its investments. China
can work with African countries to strengthen their legal and
regulatory frameworks to ensure that the overall business
environment in these countries is conducive to investments
and that the institutions needed to support trade facilitation
are transparent, accountable and robust.
Rethink International Partnerships
African countries should encourage China to leverage its
role as a leading development partner in Africa in order
to reshape the international aid architecture from an aid
agenda to an investment agenda. Given Chinas recent
transition from aid recipient to donor country and its un-
derstanding of the importance of investment, African coun-
tries should persuade Chinas new leadership to become
a more active participant in the global development and
international aid dialogue.
China will remain an important trading partner for Africa
over the next decade. Therefore, Africa should look for
ways to leverage its relationship with China in order to
increase productivity in the natural resources and mining
sectors, and to diversify into other sectors. In the years
to come, Africa could beneft from more meaningful ex-
changes with China in a number of areas, including infra-
structure development, technology transfer, job creation,
institution building and even international aid reform. How-
ever, a clear policy framework for engagement with China
is needed. The leadership changes in China later this year
present an opportunity for African governments to expand
the scope of their engagement. This must be a priority for
African countries in 2012.
Kimenyi, Mwangi S., and Zenia Lewis. 2011. The BRICs
and The New Scramble for Africa. Foresight Africa:
The Continents Greatest Challenges and Opportunities
for 2011. 11 January 2011. Africa Growth Initiative,
Brookings: Washington, DC.
Schiere, Richard and Alex Rugamba. 2011. Chinese
Infrastructure Investments and African Integration.
May 2011. African Development Bank: Tunis, Tunisia.
6 Foresight Africa: Top Priorities for the Continent in 2012
Mwangi S. Kimenyi and Stephen N. Karingi*
The Priority
In a December 2011 edition of The Economist, an article
entitled Africa Rising cemented an emerging consensus
that Africa is on the verge of turning the corner in its de-
velopment efforts. But more importantly, the transforma-
tion taking place is mostly driven by Africans themselves.
African governments are implementing policies that are
changing the continents investment climate for the bet-
ter; citizens are more informed about their rights and are
demanding more accountability from their governments;
and the African private sector is starting to look beyond
national borders. One of the most important pillars in de-
termining whether the positive prospects for Africa will
be realized is success in regional integration. With nu-
merous countries, small economies, low population den-
sity and many landlocked nations, regional integration is
absolutely pivotal to generating high rates of economic
growth and development in Africa.
Why Is It Important?
This year is a crucial one for Africas regional integration
project and actions by governments, regional organizations
and the international community will be critical in determin-
ing the course of the continents development for many
years to come. The continents integration projects are cer-
tainly reaching a tipping point.
Africas economic integration agenda progressed slowly in
the early years after independence. Some countries were
still under colonial control and the priority was decoloniza-
tion. Furthermore, the geopolitical environment and a world
order dominated by the Cold War made regional integra-
tion less of a priority for African countries. The integration
agenda has been progressing at a faster rate since the
Abuja Treaty establishing the Africa Economic Community
was adopted in June 1991 and implemented in May 1994.
The Constitutive Act of the African Union (AU) signed in July
* Stephen Karingi is the Director of Regional Integration in the Infrastructure and Trade Division of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa
(UNECA) based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The views expressed here do not necessarily represent an offcial position of UNECA.
The Brookings Institution Africa Growth Initiative 7
2000 added impetus to this second phase through full em-
brace of the Abuja Treaty.
While there has been signifcant progress in Africas re-
gional integration, evidence shows that much more can be
achieved. While intra-African trade has grown, there has
been little increase of its share in Africas total trade; ris-
ing only by 1 percentage point from 9.7 percent in 2000 to
10.8 percent in 2010. In contrast, in other parts of the world
intra-regional trade is a much larger share of total trade for
the region.
As Africa enters 2012, many are optimistic that the regional
integration agenda will make crucial progress and bring a
substantial boost to intra-African trade. Three recent deci-
sions are the basis for this confdence. First, the tripartite free
trade agreement (FTA) of the Common Market for East and
Southern Africa (COMESA), the South African Development
Community (SADC) and the East African Community (EAC)
has entered its negotiations phase. Expected to conclude in
2014, this agreement will lead to the creation of a common
regional market covering 27 African countries, which include
more than half of Africas population and GDP. Second, in
November 2010 AU trade ministers agreed to fast-track the
creation of a continental FTA. Demonstrating their serious-
ness toward creating an African Common Market, the min-
isters in December 2011 endorsed a Framework, Roadmap
and Architecture of the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA).
Finally, the decision by African Union leaders to dedicate
their January/February 2012 Summit to the theme of boost-
ing intra-African trade will bring additional focus to the issue.
During this meeting, AU leaders are expected to consider
and adopt an action plan for increasing intra-regional trade.
Adoption of these proposals will be one of the most important
events in determining the course of African development in
2012 and beyond.
Estimates by the United Nations Economic Commission
on Africa (UNECA) indicate that, by 2022, the removal of
internal tariff barriers would lead to additional intra-region-
al exports of around $25 billion per year over the current
baseline. Intra-regional trade as a share of Africas total
trade would increase to 15.4 percent by simply eliminat-
ing tariff barriers. However, while tariff barriers are impor-
tant, the more constraining factors to intra-African trade
are non-tariff barriers and weak infrastructure. The UNECA
study shows that making customs procedures twice as ef-
fcient and halving the time goods spend at port within the
African free trade zone would double intra-regional trade
to 22 percent by 2022. This growth in trade would be ac-
companied by growth in real incomes. More importantly, the
estimates show that intra-African trade in agro-processed
goods would grow by an average of 8 percent per year, and
intra-African industrial exports would grow 5 percentage
points over the baseline. The CFTA will lessen the burden of
agriculture-related imports while helping to create regional
What Needs to Happen in 2012?
African regional integration efforts in 2012 look optimistic.
The current global economic environment leaves Africa
with little choice than to decisively consolidate and build
its regional trading market. The commodity-boom super-
cycle that started in 2003 will not continue forever and the
benefts of the commodities boom are only a small pro-
portion of what the region could gain through an enlarged
internal African market. The uncertainties facing Africas
traditional export markets in Europe and the U.S. further
exacerbate the risk to the regions development prospects
if growth in the emerging market economies of China and
India were to slow down signifcantly. Yet, even if Africas
traditional export markets and the emerging economies
were to dramatically improve, the last six decades have
shown that the trade policies Africa has pursued to date
cannot lead to economic transformation. Below, we pro-
pose policy actions that African governments and regional
economic communities (RECs) should implement to en-
hance integration and suggestions on how regional orga-
nizations and international players can contribute to this
African Governments
African governments must realize true regional integration
requires them to think regionally as well as locally. They
must place their economic and political decisions within the
framework of the larger integration agenda. Enhancing Af-
rican integration calls for a paradigm shift that embraces
a regional approach, rather than a national approach, to
considering the benefts and risks of building a larger con-
tinental market. Second, efforts to consolidate the regional
market must also move beyond its current focus on mer-
8 Foresight Africa: Top Priorities for the Continent in 2012
chandise goods trade. Thirdly, national sovereignty must no
longer trump regional integration goals, especially regard-
ing the free movement of peopleparticularly business per-
sonsacross the continent.
In 2012, African governments must increase their commit-
ment to deeper regional cooperation. The Action Plan for
Boosting Intra-African Trade and the Framework, Roadmap
and Architecture of the CFTA offer the blueprint for transfor-
mational integration decisions.
Regional Economic Communities
The RECs are the building blocks of African integration. Al-
though they have achieved varied results across the differ-
ent sub-regions, given the higher African integration goal,
they will need to learn from each others successes and fail-
ures. The Economic Commission for Western Africa States
(ECOWAS) has the best policy regarding the movement of
people across national borders, which could be replicated
elsewhere. COMESA, SADC and EAC have demonstrated
trade policy harmonization, which could provide the model
for other RECs to build upon. In the short-term, in order to
enhance African integration, RECs will need to do at least
two things. First, they must accelerate the implementation
of previous agreements, especially those related to mar-
ket integration. Second, RECs will need to provide stronger
leadership and coordination of regional development strate-
gies, helping their member states better prioritize projects
and programs aimed at deepening integration.
Regional Organizations
Both the Action Plan for Boosting Intra-African Trade and
the architecture for the CFTA identify specifc areas where
regional organizations could play a role in implementation.
For example, the EAC and the African Development Bank
are expected to provide technical support during the ne-
gotiations and implementation of the CFTA for the African
Union Commission, RECs and member states. Specifcally,
to support the integration agenda in the short term, regional
organizations will need to concentrate their work in three
areas: tariff and non-tariff barrier analysis; evaluating the
operational rules of different RECs to prepare for future
harmonization in the CFTA; and addressing trade remedy
concerns. In addition, regional organizations will need to
help RECs stay on course for CFTA implementation, which
includes a preparatory phase between 2012 and 2014.
Africa is now well positioned to enter a phase of accelerated
and more durable economic growth. Deepening regional in-
tegration is crucial for this to occur and should be a priority
in 2012.
The Brookings Institution Africa Growth Initiative 9
Julius Agbor, Olumide Taiwo and Jessica Smith
The Priority
In an apparent response to the youth-led Arab Spring, Af-
rican heads of state decided to accelerate the 20092018
Decade of Youth Action Plan at the African Union 2011
Summit held in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea. Deliberations
at the summit noted that high youth unemployment is an
impending threat to stability in Africa (AU, 2011). This con-
cern is certainly valid as Africas youth population (1524
year olds) has been increasing faster than in any other part
of the world (PRB, 2009). According to the World Bank,
200 million people in Africa fall into this category, making
up 20 percent of the population, 40 percent of the work-
force, and 60 percent of the unemployed on the continent.
Youth in Africa hold great potential as drivers for economic
growth through participation in labor markets and also as
consumers. A young population can also be a resource that
leads to innovation and supports governance and political
reforms. However, a large youth population that is not gain-
fully employed can also be a liability, further undermining
growth prospects. Africas youth present a formidable chal-
lenge that requires careful interventions. In 2012, Africa
must prioritize such measures to harness the potential pre-
sented by the youth population and to mitigate their risks.
Why Is It Important?
Since the unfolding of the Arab Spring in 2011, commenta-
tors have considered the Sub-Saharan region the next stop
for political uprisings: a logical response to the increasing
number of educated youth confronted with rising unemploy-
ment and the absence of political space. While such up-
risings have not spread to Sub-Saharan Africa, the youth
in this region are a potential destabilizing factor. A large
portion of the youth population remains unemployed and
their economic status is being made worse by rising fuel
and food costs. Even in the absence of large-scale revolts,
youth unemployment represents an enormous cost to so-
ciety in terms of lost potential growth and increased crime.
A large portion of people age 1524 in Sub-Saharan Africa
are involved in self-employment in the informal and agri-
cultural sectors (World Bank, 2011). For example, Mali has
94 percent, Ethiopia 74 percent, and South Africa 31 per-
cent of the total population employed in the informal sector
(Adams, 2008). However, employment for the 1524 age
bracket, compared to the total population, has remained
largely stagnant despite this age group increasing in size.
This means that more and more youth are not fully ab-
sorbed in the economy or making signifcant increases in
10 Foresight Africa: Top Priorities for the Continent in 2012
income, in self-employment or in agriculture. Compounding
this problem is the increased rural-urban migration of youth.
The African urban population is expected to rise by 0.8 bil-
lion to reach 1.2 billion by 2050 (United Nations, 2010). This
translates into an increased population density in African
cities. A large population of educated, yet frustrated, youth
creates a greater impetus for current measures to promote
stability and youth productivity.
What Needs to Happen in 2012?
African Union members agree it is a priority for more youth
to enter the labor market to promote stability and reduce
crime. They have established several youth-focused goals:
to reduce youth unemployment by 2 percent per year from
20092018; to elaborate on a Technical and Vocational
Education and Training (TVET) framework; and to provide
adequate funding to advance the youth agenda. The TVET
framework will be important for helping African policymak-
ers determine what skills their young people need to gain
employment, become better entrepreneurs, or more suc-
cessful farmers. However, these broad policy decisions will
remain as idle chatter unless they are turned into action at
the national level in 2012 and beyond.
African nations must determine at the country level the sec-
tors with growth potential and develop youth skills that will
serve labor demand. The Kenyan Government Vision 2030
plan has identifed sectors to focus on as a medium term eco-
nomic growth strategy. For example, information technology
(IT) enabled services are expected to provide 20,000 jobs in
fve years. In order fll these positions, Kenya has designed a
city at Konza to serve as an incubator for investment in IT en-
abled services. According to the Kenyan Vision 2030 website,
the incubator site has been acquired and the feasibility study-
master plan is complete. The incubator features a parallel plan
to provide centers of specialization for education in IT enabled
services. While the success of Kenyas ambitious plan is yet
to be realized, the concept is correct; policymakers need to
determine sectors with potential for job growth and simultane-
ously develop the needed skills in the youth population.
In addition to training, the governments should play a role
in creating an enabling environment for youth involvement
in the labor market. African policymakers should focus more
critically on creating favorable conditions in non-wage sec-
tors by developing value chains in agriculture and expand-
ing opportunities for self-employment. Very little attention
is paid to the agro-allied sub-sectorthose activities that
transform farm outputs into fnal products. The agro-allied
sector has great potential for youth employment because
formal skill requirements are typically low at the beginning,
which allows youth to learn by gradually moving from sim-
ple tasks to more sophisticated production. In regards to
improving conditions for entrepreneurs, policymakers need
to provide incentives for fnancial institutions to innovatively
fnd ways to deliver both fnancial and social capital to self-
employed youth. The main setback for banks that would
lend to youth has been lack of information. African govern-
ments can begin tackling this problem in 2012 by expedit-
ing national identifcation and registration systems that can
support the development of consumer and credit informa-
tion systems. The information made available to lenders
would facilitate the growth of credit and entrepreneurship
among young people.
Broadly, African nations should determine if any institutional
barriers are preventing youth from participating in the econ-
omy. For example, youth in Ethiopia face restricted access
to land due to customary land rights, which makes it diffcult
for them to succeed in the agriculture sector. Sub-Saharan
countries also vary widely on land and property ownership
for women; laws often exclude females as major economic
players and restrict their access to collateral and farm land
(OECD, 2011). Although institutions are slow to change, gov-
ernments can play a vital role in opening political space.
As global attention remains on youth protests in Arab coun-
tries and elsewhere, and the global economic crisis wors-
ens unemployment conditions for youth, 2012 is bound to
feature the reactions of the young and jobless. The African
Union is correct in accelerating their goal to reduce youth
unemployment to avoid the negative consequences of the
youth bulge. However, AU member countries should also
be held accountable at the national level to better lever-
age the dividends a large youth labor force can provide.
While the programs highlighted in the 2011 African Union
Summit are not new programs for Africa, what is new for
2012 is the challenge for AU members to translate deliv-
ered skills into meaningful opportunities and employment
for Africas youth.
The Brookings Institution Africa Growth Initiative 11
Adams, Arvil. 2008. Skills Development in the Informal
Sector of Sub-Saharan Africa, World Bank:
Washington, DC
African Union. 2011. Decisions Adopted during the 17th
African Union Summit, 23 June1 July, 2011, African
Union: Malabo, Equatorial Guinea
Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.
2011. Social Institutions and Gender Index: 2009
Ranking, Organization for Economic Co-operation and
Development: Paris, France
Population Reference Bureau. 2009. Population
Reference Bureau: World Population Data Sheet
2009, Population Reference Bureau Website:
Washington, DC.
United Nations. 2010. World Urbanization Prospects,
the 2009 Revision: Press Release, United Nations
Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population
Division Website: New York, New York.
12 Foresight Africa: Top Priorities for the Continent in 2012
Mwangi S. Kimenyi and Nelipher Moyo
The Priority
For Africa, global governance matters. Decisions made by
developed countries have a direct bearing on the well-being
of the African peoplemost recently demonstrated in the
developed worlds global economic and fnancial crisis. De-
spite having no control over the crisis and its mitigation or
outcome, negative repercussions still occurred in African
economies including: increased currency volatility, reduced
fows of private capital to the region, reduced fows of remit-
tances and decreasing commodity prices. These outcomes
then induced consequential implications on poverty, food
security and health. Yet, Africa has been a marginal player
in global governance matters, which impact its economic
stability and overall well-being. While African countries
have made major progress reforming their economiesim-
proving the business climate and governance; and macro-
economic managementthese efforts are unlikely to bear
fruit if impeded by developed countries. Volatility in global
fnancial markets and a potential deceleration in commodity
markets have gone unrecognized by developed countries
and continue to threaten Africas growth outlook for 2012.
Beyond the economic arena, decisions on climate change,
trade and global security matter to the continent. In 2012,
Africa should seek to increase its voice and infuence in
global governance structures, specifcally by requiring a
more inclusive framework to address the worlds problems.
Why Is It Important and What Needs to
Happen in 2012?
Global Economic Governance
The recent global crises revealed that the G-8 could not ad-
equately address global economic problems and required a
more inclusive process, leading to the expansion of the G-8
to the more comprehensive G-20. While this is certainly a
step in the right direction, Africa and other developing coun-
trieswhich are the most vulnerable to global downturns
must push for expansion of the G-20 to G-20 plus. Although
South Africa gained membership in the G-20, most Africans
believe that broader representation is necessary and, per-
haps, the African Union is best equipped to represent Af-
ricas interests in global affairs. Like the European Union,
the African Union should have a place at the G-20 plus.
In addition, the Bretton Woods institutions need to be
reformed to be more representative of developing coun-
tries. The World Bank has made noteworthy progress by
The Brookings Institution Africa Growth Initiative 13
adding a third executive director for Sub-Saharan Africa
and adjusting voting power on its Board of Governors.
However, the International Monetary Fund continues to
lack legitimacy in the changing global context. Despite
the quota and voice reforms undertaken starting in 2008,
emerging markets and other developing countries are un-
der-represented on the IMFs Executive Board. In 2012,
IMF reform should be at the forefront of Africas agenda
as the primary organization tasked with overseeing glob-
al fnancial market reform. South Africas President Ja-
cob Zuma reiterated this point at the 2011 G-20 Summit,
where he stated on IMF reform, South Africa seeks to
increase the voice and participation of Sub-Saharan Af-
rica and the creation of a third chair for Sub-Saharan Af-
rica (Patel, 2011). In reforming the IMF, countries should
prioritize measures that increase the representation and
inclusiveness of the organization. This includes removing
veto power for any country, creating an independent ac-
countability mechanism, and giving Africa a third chair on
the Executive Board.
Global Trade
Trade has been an important driver of growth in Africa
over the last decade. Exports account for one-third of Af-
rican GDP and export value more than doubled between
2000 and 2010 due to rising commodity prices. Worldwide,
as countries struggle to manage the effects of the global
crisis, some have implemented recovery measures that
are exacerbating trade imbalances between developed
and developing countries. The World Trade Organization
(WTO) has reported an increasing trend of protectionism
among G-20 countries. This threatens global trade growth
in 2012 and consequently presents a risk of slower eco-
nomic growth in Africa.
African countries participation in the WTO has previously
been very limited. With the exception of South Africa, no
other country in Sub-Saharan Africa has been involved in
the WTOs Dispute Settlement Mechanism, as either com-
plainants or respondents. With the current trend of rising
protectionism in developed countries, it will be important
for African countries to take a more active role in the WTO
to safeguard their trade gains. African countries should
work to ensure that, like the European Union, the African
Union becomes a member of the WTO. This will open a
new trade context for countries in the region, which might
otherwise lack the capacity to deal with complex trade is-
sues and grievances.
Global Climate Change
The adverse effects of climate change are more pronounced
in developing countries and especially those in Africa.
Changing climate such as rising sea levels, droughts, heat
waves, foods, and rainfall variation threaten development
and food security in many Sub-Saharan countries and are
likely to increase unless nations can agree on a compre-
hensive strategy for climate change mitigation and adapta-
tion. In December 2011, global climate change advocates
and policymakers met in Durban at the 17th Conference
of the Parties (COP-17) to the United Nations Framework
Convention on Climate Change to agree on a global climate
change framework. While a legally binding framework to
address climate change was not reached, COP-17 brought
African governments together and initiated the develop-
ment of a united African position on climate change.
It is critically important that in 2012 African countries con-
tinue to assert their voices in global climate change discus-
sions. In particular, African voices should address the al-
location of climate change adaptation and mitigation funds.
In order to achieve climate change objectives, recipient
countries must be active stakeholders in these discussions.
Therefore, in 2012 African countries should build on the
consensus reached in Durban and continue to advocate for
increased participation in the allocation of climate change
funds. In addition, despite their low levels of development,
African countries should play a larger role in negotiations to
reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to protect them-
selves against an agreement that could adversely affect the
region in more advanced stages of development.
Global SecurityThe U.N. Security Council
Global security remained a key issue in 2011 and will re-
main so for the foreseeable future. As the primary organi-
zation tasked with maintaining global security, in 2011 the
United Nations Security Council authorized military action
that resulted in regime change in two African countries: Lib-
ya and the Ivory Coast. Of the 60 resolutions passed by the
U.N. Security Council in 2011, at least 38 were directed at
African countries. Clearly, Africa has a stake in global secu-
14 Foresight Africa: Top Priorities for the Continent in 2012
rity matters and should have adequate representation in the
worlds global security arm.
The Security Councils fve permanent membersChina,
France, Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the
United Stateswere designated in 1945 and have since
remained unchanged. While 10 non-permanent members
have been added, including South Africa and Nigeria, these
members do not have veto power and can only serve non-
concurrent two-year terms. To date, both Africa and Latin
America lack representation among the Security Councils
powerful permanent members.
In 2012, African countries should work with their Latin
American counterparts to call for a more inclusive and eq-
uitable global security governance structure, starting with
regionally representative permanent seats. While there are
numerous and sometimes conficting proposals to reform
the Security Councils size, regional representation struc-
ture, veto implementation and categories of membership,
there is consensus that each region should have a perma-
nent representative. This should serve as the starting point
for U.N. Security Council reforms. Finally, the African Union
should be delegated as the representative for the continent.
International Aid Reform
A top item for Africas 2012 agenda should be international
aid reform and increasing the African voice in reform dis-
cussions. Two objectives must be met within aid reform: do-
nors must continue to meet their aid commitments despite
slower global growth; and the nature and effectiveness of
aid must be improved. African policymakers agree that the
region would beneft signifcantly from a reorientation of aid
toward investment and that African countries should look for
ways to leverage their relationships with China to increase
their voice on aid reform.
In November 2011, the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid
Effectiveness in Busan facilitated important discussions
about improving the effectiveness of aid. During the forum,
African countries emphasized the importance of ensuring
that donor objectives align with African priority areas. While
this was a positive step toward presenting a united front on
aid, during the next forum, African countries should outline
some specifc agreed upon priority objectives and work to
increase the voices of aid recipient countries.
Prioritizing the Inclusion Agenda
While discussing the theme for the January 2012 World
Economic Forum Annual Meeting, Professor Klaus Schwab
observed the conventional modes of decision-making have
become outdated. What we clearly need are new models
for global, regional, national and business decision-making
which truly refect that the context for decision-making has
been altered (Schwab, 2011). Starting with the World Eco-
nomic Forum, African countries should utilize these con-
ferences to increase their role and participation in global
governance. This should culminate in a seat for the African
Union at the 2012 G-20 Summit in Mexico.
The changing global dynamic presents an opportunity to
integrate new voices in global governancewhich Africa
should capitalize. In order to safeguard its recent devel-
opment gains, Africa must play a greater role in global
governance organizations in 2012. Failure to do so may
result in the global agreements that are disadvantageous
to the region.
Patel, Khadija. 2011. At G20, Zuma Talks IMF Reform
Again. 4 November, 2011. Daily Maverick: South Africa.
Schwab, Klaus. 2011. The Great TransformationShaping
New Models. 23 October, 2011. The World Economic
Forum: Davos, Switzerland.
The Brookings Institution Africa Growth Initiative 15
John Page
The Priority
This year is likely to be one in which a number of hard de-
cisions and unhappy truths will confront the international
donor community in Africa. Fiscal retrenchment in the Or-
ganization for Economic Cooperation and Development
(OECD) countries makes it increasingly likely that the
members of the OECD Development Assistance Com-
mittee (DAC) will fnally abandon their Gleneagles com-
mitments to increase aid to Africa by $25 billion. Indeed,
there is a signifcant risk that programmable aidthe
aid actually available to support investments and public
expendituresmay fall. 2012 is also the year in which
donors are likely to have to admit that despite signifcant
progress many African countries and the continent as a
whole will fail to meet the Millennium Development Goals.
Aid to Africa remains high on the agenda of the G-8 and
G-20 for 2012. But in the face of these realities, what
sort of conversation should these two global clubs
have with respect to an aid strategy in Africa? The an-
swer is clear. After years of neglect, the international
community needs to refocus aid on creating good jobs
through private investment and structural change.
Why Is It Important?
Growth enhancing structural changethe movement of
workers from low productivity to high productivity jobs
matters crucially for Africa. It is the key to long-term growth,
high wage employment and faster poverty reduction. There
is little evidence, however, that signifcant structural chang-
es have underpinned the regions more rapid growth since
1995. Since the middle of the 1980s, Africa has deindustri-
alized. Africas share of manufacturing in GDP is less than
one-half of the average for all developing countries and, in
contrast with developing countries as a whole, it is declin-
ing. Today, Bangladesh alone produces as much manufac-
turing output as all of low-income Africa.
As industry has moved out of Africa, private investment
has made other developing countriesmainly in Asiathe
worlds factory. Since the 1990s, foreign direct investment
(FDI) in manufacturing and infrastructure has moved dis-
proportionately to Asia, driving the rapid structural transfor-
mation of its low-income economies. Not surprisingly, the
majority of the good jobsthose with high value-added
and the potential for good wagescreated by globalization
has been in Asia.
16 Foresight Africa: Top Priorities for the Continent in 2012
While Africa has seen a modest increase in FDI, that invest-
ment has been almost wholly in mining and minerals. Less
than 1 percent of global FDI has gone to manufacturing in
Africa. Again not surprisingly, a recent paper by Dani Rodrik
and Margaret McMillan suggests that it is likely that since
1990 the structural changes that have taken place in Africa
have reduced the share of African workers in good jobs and
cut the regions overall growth rate.
Aid and the Investment Climate: A Missed Opportunity
Although the vast majority of aid and development rheto-
ric over the last two decades has focused on meeting the
MDGs, the international community has also attempted to
support growth and job creation by the private sector in Af-
rica. Unfortunately, it has done so badly. Since the 1990s,
donor efforts to develop the private sector in Africa have
focused primarily on the investment climatethe regu-
latory, institutional and physical environment within which
frms operate. Around one-quarter of offcial development
assistance, some $21 billion per year, currently supports
investment climate improvements.
The centerpiece of this effort has been the World Bank-
International Finance Corporation Doing Business sur-
veys. In 2011, the average rank of African countries in
the Doing Business indicators (moving from 1 as the best
to 183 as the worst) was 137. Clearly, Africa can do bet-
ter at Doing Business, but does Doing Business identify
the binding constraints to private investment, structural
change and growth?
The answer is no for at least two reasons. First, Doing
Business was never designed to be a country-level
diagnostic tool; it is cross-country league table. Second
and more fundamentally, Doing Business confnes itself to
only one part of the investment climate: it rewards changes
in trade, regulatory, and labor market policies designed to
reduce the role of government in economic management.
There is substantial evidence that lack of infrastructure
and skills is responsible for much of the difference in
costs and competitiveness between Africa and other
parts of the developing world. Sub-Saharan Africa lags
at least 20 percentage points behind the average for
low-income countries on almost all major infrastructure
measures. In addition, employer surveys report that
African post-secondary graduates are weak in problem
solving, business understanding, computer use and
communication skills.
While regulatory reform has dominated the discussion
of private sector development, donor attention to Africas
growing infrastructure and skills defcits has waned. Infra-
structure fnancing to Africa by the members of the OECD
DAC has been falling as a share of overseas development
assistance since the early 1970s, while the pursuit of the
primary education MDG has crowded expenditures on post-
primary education out of development budgets.
What Needs to Happen in 2012?
How can the international community better support struc-
tural change and job creation in Africa? In 2012, the G-8
and G-20 need to avoid the temptation to repeat the same
platitudes about Africas growth turn-around and the
same hollow promises to increase aid. Rather, they should
clearly call on the international fnancial institutions (IFIs)
and the OECD DAC to develop a new aid strategy for Af-
ricaone that leverages existing aid fows for job creation
and structural change.
A simple initiative would be to task the IFIsand the World
Bank in particularwith rethinking their priorities for invest-
ment climate reform away from easily understood, but low
impact regulatory reforms to address the binding constraints
to competitiveness. Another would be to pledge to reverse
the declining trends in aid to infrastructure and post-primary
education within the existing aid envelope.
Because for the vast majority of African countries the export
market represents the only option for rapid growth of manu-
facturing, agro-industry and high value-added services, aid
and trade policies need to be restructured to support an ex-
port push. These policies should have a focused set of pub-
lic investments and actions designed to increase the share of
nontraditional exports in Africas GDP. International support
for an export push should work on two fronts: aid to improve
trade logistics through meaningful reforms to the current,
moribund Aid for Trade initiative; and policies to increase
preferential market access for Africas nontraditional exports.
Africa has few large-scale, modern industrial agglomerations,
making it both more diffcult for existing frms to compete and
The Brookings Institution Africa Growth Initiative 17
more diffcult to attract new industries. Governments can fos-
ter industrial agglomerations by concentrating investment in
high quality institutions, social services, and infrastructure in
a limited area, such as a special economic zone (SEZ). Un-
fortunately, Africas traditional suppliers of aid have tended
to neglect special economic zones as a development instru-
ment. Here again, the G-8 and G-20 can task the IFIs with
developing appropriate SEZ strategies for Africa.
The small size of Africas economies and the fact that many
are landlocked make regional approaches to infrastructure,
institutional and legal frameworks, and trade related services
imperative. Africas development partners have not aggres-
sively helped regional integration, preferring instead to deal
with individual countries rather than regional organizations
and limiting fnancial commitments to trans-border projects.
Aid implementation and disbursement are particularly slow
at the regional level. Donors through the OECD DAC need
to make stronger efforts to harmonize their support to region-
al organizations, decrease the use of their own systems to
channel aid fows to regional programs, and integrate their
national aid programs into their regional strategies.
Africas development partners have devoted too few resourc-
es and too little attention to the critical constraints to job cre-
ation and structural change. The hard truths likely to confront
the G-8 and G-20 in 2012 represent an opportunity to craft
a new strategyone that catalyzes private investment for
structural changeas the centerpiece of aid to Africa.
McMillan, Margaret and Dani Rodrik. 2011. Globalization,
Structural Change and Productivity Growth, NBER
Working Paper Series, Vol. w17143.
Page, John. 2011. Aid, Structural Change and the Private
Sector in Africa, Paper presented. UNU-WIDER
Conference: Helsinki, Finland,
World Bank. 2008. Doing Business: An Independent
Evaluation, Independent Evaluation Group, World
Bank: Washington, DC.
World Bank. 2011. Doing Business, Independent
Evaluation Group, World Bank: Washington, DC
18 Foresight Africa: Top Priorities for the Continent in 2012
John M. Mbaku and Jessica Smith
The Priority
On July 9, 2011, South Sudan emerged as a sovereign na-
tion, with an internationally-recognized legal identity, sepa-
rate from the Republic of Sudan. Despite this monumental
achievement, the people of South Sudan must still secure
a state that is consensual and productive, and that can pro-
vide the enabling environment necessary to signifcantly im-
prove national standards of living. Thus, while South Sudan
achieved independence in 2011, the actions taken in 2012
to build the nation will be critical and will determine whether
it emerges as a successful or failed state.
As it enters 2012, South Sudan already faces many prob-
lems and challenges to building a strong, industrious coun-
try, and addressing these effectively requires a consensual
and productive government. Some of the problems that
are likely to dominate the new countrys political economy
in 2012 include: building a federal state and government
capable of managing ethnic diversity and providing a fully
functioning infrastructure that includes a system of laws and
institutions to prevent corruption; gaining full control of its
natural resources through effective access to the waters of
the Nile River and resolving North-South issues over the di-
vision of oil royalties; and securing the countrys permanent
boundary with the Republic of Sudan. If these issues are
not tackled fully and effectively, the country will fail to create
the wealth it needs. Failure could create institutional insta-
bility capable of signifcantly affecting prospects for peace,
not only in South Sudan, but also in the east Africa region
and throughout the continent.
Why Is It Important?
State and Government Reconstruction
During decolonization and preparations for the indepen-
dence of Sudan in 1956, the countrys citizens demand for
a federal system of government was rejected in favor of a
unitary system. This system centralized political power in
the capital city of Khartoum and sowed the seeds for much
of the countrys future woes. A federal system of govern-
ment, however, would have provided the new government
of South Sudan with the wherewithal to effectively man-
age ethnic diversity and ensure peaceful coexistence of
its population, as well as enhance the governments ability
to promote effcient and equitable allocation of resources.
A competitive political system is critical to the prevention
of destructive, sectarian mobilization. The ability of South
Sudan to maintain an effective and fully functioning federal
system of government will also be determined by the extent
to which the country is able to create institutions that ensure
The Brookings Institution Africa Growth Initiative 19
public accountabilitysuch as an independent media, a vi-
brant and robust civil society, and a well-constrained civil
service, among others.
Additionally, past experience has shown a new govern-
ment and independence do not necessarily result in the
creation of a developmental state. The developmental
state must be constitutionally limited so political elites
and bureaucrats are not able to engage in corruption, rent
seeking and other forms of opportunism to beneft them-
selves at the expense of their fellow citizens. As South
Sudan decides on the type of government and institutions
it will adopt, it must focus on those that best ensure equal-
ity, transparency and effciency.
Natural Resources: Water and Oil
The government of South Sudan has recently outlined a
development strategy that is highly reliant on the modern-
ization of its agricultural sector. However, modernization re-
quires large-scale production that cannot be achieved with
rain-fed agriculture alone. South Sudan is a riparian state to
the Nile, along with Egypt, the Republic of Sudan, Ethiopia,
Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda. Yet, only
the Republic of Sudan and Egypt have full access to Nile
waters based on legislation established by the British colo-
nial government and the 1959 bilateral agreement between
Egypt and Sudan. The other Nile stakeholders have since
rejected the 1959 agreement and have allied under the Nile
Basin Initiative (NBI) to open a new dialogue regarding wa-
ter rights and a more equitable allocation of the Nile Rivers
resources. South Sudan should reject the 1959 agreement
and align itself with the NBI to demand the development
and adoption of a regionally-based cooperative framework
for governing the allocation of the waters of the Nile.
Oil is as critical to the development of South Sudan and
oil earnings account for 98 percent of public revenue for
the government of South Sudan. In the Republic of Sudan,
however, royalties from oil account for 50 percent of gov-
ernment revenue. Currently, South Sudans abundant oil
reserves can only be managed effectively and effciently
with cooperation from the Republic of Sudan. This is partly
because South Sudan does not have the capacity to fully
process its oil and must rely on a pipeline system and ports
located in the Republic of Sudan for export. Although the
2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement requires that oil
revenues be shared between South Sudan and the Repub-
lic of Sudan, disputes occur over the fee that South Sudan
must pay to transmit its oil through the Republic of Sudans
territorydemonstrated most recently when the Republic
of Sudan blocked oil transmission through its land entirely.
Such unilateral action on the part of the Republic of Sudan
betrays the fact that economic development in South Sudan
depends, at least in the immediate future, on cooperation
between the two former civil war foes.
The North-South Relationship
Although South Sudan separated from the Republic of
Sudan with relatively little confict, past issues remain that
must be resolvedparticularly regarding their shared bor-
der. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which ended
the Second Sudanese Civil War, granted the Abyei Area
special administrative status and gave residents citizen-
ship in the states of South Kurdufan (the Republic of Su-
dan) and Northern Bahr el Ghazai (South Sudan) until a
referendum could determine the areas permanent status.
The referendum intended Abyei to choose between becom-
ing part of a new autonomous South Sudan or remaining
part of the Republic of Sudan but unfortunately the January
2011 referendum was never held. In December 2010, there
still was no agreement by the Permanent Court of Arbitra-
tion on the Abyei areas boundaries and consequently there
still was no concurrence on who constituted a resident of
Abyei for purposes of participating in the referendum. As
the stalemate dragged on, both sides sent troops to occupy
the area and a series of bloody confrontations ensued. The
violence eventually subdued due to a temporary agreement
between the parties. The U.N. has deployed a contingent
of Ethiopian troops in the region to keep the peace until the
issue of border demarcation can be resolved.
Border conficts also effect access rights to common pool
resources, which include water, fertile land, grazing lands
and oil. Thus, in 2012 and beyond, both South Sudan
and the Republic of Sudan, working with the help of the
East African Community, must frst effectively resolve
their boundary problems and second create an effective
system of well-defned and enforced property rights in
their respective jurisdictions. Until and unless this is ac-
complished, confict over access to critical grazing lands
20 Foresight Africa: Top Priorities for the Continent in 2012
will continue and nomadic livestock owners are likely to
maintain their violent mobilization in an effort to secure
food and water for their cattle.
What Needs to Happen in 2012?
In sum, the main challenges facing South Sudan include:
creating a capable government free of corruption, ensur-
ing a more equitable distribution of the Niles resources,
addressing its dispute with the Republic of Sudan over oil
royalties, and better securing its boundary. Policy actions
are needed in the following ways:
To achieve stability, the government must frst provide an
institutional environment that ensures the countrys ethnic,
religious and nationality groups are capable of living together
peacefully. These institutional arrangements must not allow
some groups to dominate or exploit others or place some
groups at a competitive disadvantage. Peaceful coexistence
is critical for stability, economic growth and development.
Second, in addition to equitable allocation of political power,
the countrys laws and institutions must adequately constrain
civil servants and politicians from engaging in corruption, rent
seeking and other forms of political opportunism. The gov-
ernment must make certain that it provides its public sector
with the types of laws and institutions that enhance effcient
fnancial management and minimize opportunistic behaviors.
Third, the government must negotiate a peaceful settlement
to its confict with the Republic of Sudan over their border
and the sharing of resources. More productive relations
between Juba and Khartoum are critical for sustainable
development in South Sudan. Escalating confict between
the two Sudans could prevent improved trade and cultural
exchanges within the East African Community, as well as
between the region and the rest of the world.
Fourth, South Sudan must put in place laws and institu-
tions that enhance the effcient and equitable manage-
ment of the countrys resources, particularly its water and
oil. The government must effciently manage these enor-
mous natural resource endowments to secure the capital
needed to address mass poverty, provide employment op-
portunities for restless youth, and ensure the proceeds of
economic growth are distributed fairly and equitably. This
involves not only making certain that its oil and other re-
sources are sustainably exploited, but also that the coun-
trys enormous human resources, including human capital
residing in the Diaspora, are provided the means to con-
tribute to national development.
Finally, in addressing each of these issues and in attend-
ing to their countrys social and economic development, the
people of South Sudan must recognize the critical role that
partnerships with their neighbors can play. The countries of
the East African Community and the international communi-
ty have long recognized the extent of mass poverty in South
Sudan and are making efforts to help the country deal with
it. However, the South Sudanese government must make
certain that it creates an institutional environment within
which these donors can function as effective contributors
to national developmentsuch institutions must guard
against waste, corruption, and the import of technologies
that are not relevant to local development needs.
The Brookings Institution Africa Growth Initiative 21
Julius Agbor and Anne Kamau
The Priority
By all indications, 2011 was a challenging year for the
global economy. GDP growth in the advanced econo-
miesnotably, the United States, the United Kingdom and
the eurozone countriesstagnated at 1.6 percent and
only marginal growth improvements are expected in 2012.
Emerging economies and low-income countries on the oth-
er hand experienced robust growth of 6.4 percent in 2011.
The global macroeconomic environment continues to be
dominated by the effects of the 20072009 Great Re-
cession, the eurozone sovereign debt crisis and the on-
going turmoil in global fnancial markets. These events
have largely contributed to the growth slowdown being
experienced by the OECD countries and emerging mar-
ket economies. Of particular concern is the magnitude
and depth of the eurozone debt crisis. With the Greek
debt crisis yet to be resolved and Italy now also experi-
encing its own sovereign debt problem, global markets
are responding to fears that neither the European Union
nor the International Monetary Fund will be able to bail
out European countries in the event of a default. Even in
event of a successful Greek and Italian debt restructur-
ing, investors will still be concerned about highly indebted
countries in recessiona situation that could jeopardize
the stability of banks not only in Europe but also in the
U.S. and Asia.
Why Is It Important?
The anticipated growth slowdown in both OECD and
emerging market countries, coupled with growing un-
certainties in global fnancial markets, is expected to
negatively impact Sub-Saharan African economies both
directly and indirectly. First, with a slowing world econo-
my and uncertainty in global fnancial markets, investors
around the world will respond by withholding investment
decisions. This in turn will directly hurt African economies
because it will reduce exports from the continent, tourism
from abroad, capital infows and remittances. For exam-
ple, during the recent global economic crisis, overall ex-
port revenues for all African countries dwindled by $251
billion and $277 billion in 2009 and 2010 respectively.
Capital infows also fell considerably, especially for coun-
tries like Kenya where remittances dropped steadily from
$61 million in October 2008 to $39 million in January
2009. Likewise, compared to the fourth quarter of 2007,
tourism receipts for Kenya in 2008 were 13 percent lower.
22 Foresight Africa: Top Priorities for the Continent in 2012
Second, as observed in 2011, uncertainties within the Eu-
ropean fnancial system led to a massive shift by investors
away from euro-denominated assets to dollar-denominated
assets, thereby triggering sharp depreciations in the curren-
cies of most of the non-oil-exporting emerging countries in
Africa, notably South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.
For instance, between May and December 2011, the Ugan-
dan, Kenyan and Tanzanian shillings depreciated against
the dollar by 18, 13 and 7 percent respectively. While these
depreciations offered a potential export competitiveness
dividend, the increased exchange rate volatility associ-
ated with these currency declines have instead magnifed
the downside returns as their import bills and foreign debt
holdings rose, foreign reserves plummeted and trade def-
cits widened. To curb domestic infation and stabilize the
exchange rate, central banks in the African economies con-
cerned have largely tightened monetary policy with unin-
tended consequences on domestic demand and growth.
If the experience of the recent crisis in Africa that swept
away frms, mines, jobs, revenues and livelihoods is any-
thing to go by, then one should realistically expect the
growth slowdown in OECD economies to have adverse
consequences on the well-being of Africans. Without ap-
propriate measures to counter these negative effects, the
gains in poverty reduction and progress toward the Millen-
nium Development Goals could be undermined.
What Needs to Happen in 2012?
In 2012, fnancial markets will be watching the European
Union as it moves toward closer integration. With Brit-
ains veto of the proposed changes to the EUs Found-
ing Treatywhich would have given EU institutions more
enforcement authority and member countries less control
over their national budgetsthe remaining 26 EU member
countries must pursue more restrictive budget defcit rules.
Though this will not achieve the desired level of fscal in-
tegration, it will nonetheless inspire markets to renew trust
in eurozone bonds, which could stabilize the European
banking system and global fnancial markets. In turn, Afri-
can economies might see renewed capital infows, which
could shore up their foreign exchange reserves and dimin-
ish the volatility associated with the rapid depreciation in
their currencies. Another factor that might contribute to a
restoration of investor confdence in global fnancial mar-
kets is the announcement in December 2011 by the U.S.
Federal Reserve that it would substantially implement all
of the Basel III rules reforming the global fnancial archi-
tecture. Although pundits argue that increased regulation
of the fnancial system will hurt growth, markets need as-
surance that the system will not default. Finally, markets
will be looking forward to the implementation of a cred-
ible medium-term fscal consolidation plan in the United
Statesa move that would restore consumer and inves-
tor confdence, and thus spending in the largest economy
in the world. This would certainly have positive economic
spillovers to the rest of the world, including Africa.
In light of the forgoing, and in order to reap any potential
benefts from the global macroeconomic environment in
2012, Sub-Saharan African countries frst need to protect
their macroeconomic balance sheets by controlling infa-
tion, restraining spending and ensuring that debt-to-GDP
ratios are sustainable. Additionally, African governments
need to maintain political stability, which is a crucial ele-
ment to improving the business environment and attracting
foreign investors.
Furthermore, considering the potential risks associated with
trading with only a few OECD countries, African countries
must seek to diversify their trading partners. For example,
forging strategic trading relationships with emerging econo-
mies in Asia and Latin America would help sustain African
economies in the event of further economic slowdowns in
the advanced economies. In addition, African governments
must implement policies to diversify their economies away
from oil, gas and minerals into higher value-added activi-
ties, such as agro-industries, manufacturing and services.
More diversifed economies are more resilient to wide de-
mand swings caused by fuctuating commodity prices. Like-
wise, African countries must accelerate the pace of regional
integration in order to expand intra-Africa trade. Expanding
trade within Africa is crucial to supporting growth especially
when economic conditions will probably continue to be dis-
mal in advanced economies in 2012.
The Brookings Institution Africa Growth Initiative 23
Richard Joseph
The Priority
Several years ago, I heard a senior U.S. government offcial
discuss the war in Afghanistan. He described the challenges
of the complex nation, and the even greater ones in neighbor-
ing Pakistan where large swaths of territory are outside the
control of the national government. Americans, he said, should
be prepared for military engagement in this multinational arena
for 10 to 15 years. It was an eye-opener, not just of the quag-
mire the United States had rushed into, but the fact that most
Americans were unaware of what he stated so convincingly.
If the current trend continues, one day the same may be
said about the band of insecurity from northeast to north-
west Africa. This region is likely to experience increasing
instability and warfare, while narratives of jihadist revolt
and terrorist technologies circulate among its citizens. The
countries that may be affected, to differing degrees, include:
Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Central
African Republic, Sudan, Congo, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia,
Eritrea, Djibouti and Somalia. Individuals cross these na-
tional borders easily, as do ideas, trading goods and arma-
ments. We tend to think of these countries as occupying
different geographical and cultural zones, but the reality on
the ground is less hermetic.
Armed confict has occurred in many forms throughout this
area as both militaries and irregular forces disregard na-
tional borders. In Libya, the Gaddaf regime was involved
for decades in seeding revolt in several of these countries,
including efforts to dismember Chad. Many Chadians, and
other citizens of west and equatorial Africa, were enticed to
Libya as labor migrants and became trapped by the upris-
ing against the regime. Conversely, some of Gaddafs mili-
tary offcers and family members have taken refuge in Niger
and when his son, Seif al-Islam el-Gaddaf, was captured in
southwest Libya many believed he had fed across the bor-
der to Niger. All the countries bordering Sudan have been
enmeshed, at one time or another, in its violent conficts.
Ethiopiawhile constantly tamping down unrest among its
disaffected communities, especially from the largest ethnic
group, the Oromohas been called upon to use its army
as a pacifcation force in Sudan and Somalia. Ugandan
soldiers constitute a major component of African Union
peacekeepers in Somalia; and the Kenyan invasion of that
country in October 2011 added a wholly new dimension to
cross-border hostilities. The re-entry of Ethiopian troops
and heavy armaments into Somalia a month later raised
the stakes greatly considering the negative consequences
24 Foresight Africa: Top Priorities for the Continent in 2012
of their 20072008 occupation of parts of the country. The
year ended with horrifc Christmas day bombing attacks in
Nigeria by Boko Haram, which lifted the 2011 death toll at-
tributed to this jihadist group to almost 500.
What the people of countries in this band have in common
is poverty as all are poorer than their southern neighbors.
Some of them, such as Mali and Niger, have vast areas
with minimal governmental presence. As a consequence,
they have become recruiting grounds and havens for al-
Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). With the exception
of Mali, which has experienced two decades of democratic
progress, the governments range from autocratic Eritrea
whose repressive government has forced many of its citi-
zens to feeto contentious democracies like Nigeria and
Kenya. While France is intermittently drawn into counter-
insurgency, especially when its citizens are kidnapped by
insurgent groups, it is the United States that is most steadily
involved in such operations. As the United States has with-
drawn militarily from Iraq, gradually draws down its forces
in Afghanistan, and adjusts to an altered political landscape
in the Middle East, resources will be strained to respond to
African insecurities and insurgencies.
Why is It Important and What Needs to Happen
in 2012?
There is a need for urgent instability and warfare policy
reviews in three theaters where the challenges are acute.
First, after two decades, the implosion of Somalia as a na-
tion, the brutalities of Al-Shabaab, and the depredations of
Somali pirates must be recognized for what they are: severe
threats to international peace and security. After enormous
sums have been expended to install a transitional govern-
ment in Mogadishu, and bribeand thus fnancepiracy,
an international conference should be convened under U.N.
auspices to consider one central question: Can legitimate
governance be restored to the entire territory of Somalia
and, if so, how? In addition to self-governing Somaliland
and Puntland, many statelets are emerging. The absence
of a single national state and multifaceted warfare exacer-
bated the 2011 drought and famine. Several authors have
suggested the need to resurrect the U.N. trusteeship sys-
tem to manage countries in which no sovereign authority
exists and where the people experience extreme suffering.
Whatever the specifc outcomes, a comprehensive global
effort involving all necessary military, diplomatic and hu-
manitarian actions should be undertaken to end the law-
lessness in what used to be the nation of Somalia. It is not
just the security of the Somali people and those of the re-
gion that has been undermined, but also world security, due
to the crime and warfare in this largely ungoverned territory
with an extensive sea coast.
Second, although Sudans leader, Omar al-Bashir, has
been indicted by the International Criminal Court, his regime
continues to be accused of conducting war crimes. The in-
ternational community has engaged the Bashir regime to
secure South Sudan independence. But South Sudan is
faced with perpetual war on its northern borders, subver-
sion within from Khartoum proxies, and the entrenchment
in Juba of an autocratic regime based on oil income, global
aid, and a post-liberation army. Sudan, even with the loss of
the south, is not likely to become a coherent nation in which
its peripheral areas are controlled with anything but force
and Janjaweed-like militarism. As with the transformations
in Egypt and Libya to its north, the 22-year Bashir regime
will eventually run its course. Will it be succeeded by a re-
gime capable of governing this entity through non-belliger-
ent statecraft? When all is considered, Sudan should either
become a confederal state or, like Yugoslavia, dissolve into
viable sovereign entities. Pathways to these alternative out-
comes, however, are not apparent. Consequently, no end
is in sight to a half-century of near-incessant warfare with
staggering levels of human suffering.
The third major priority area for sustained international
engagement should be northern Nigeria. There are few
African nations with which the U.S. and other major coun-
tries should engage with more todaydespite the known
diffculties. If Nigeria, with one-ffth the population of Sub-
Saharan Africa, becomes Pakistanized with the entrench-
ment of militant groups that beneft from illicit relations with
rogue operators in and outside government, the dire conse-
quences for this nation and its neighbors are incalculable.
It has taken over a decade to achieve a tenuous calm in
Nigerias delta region where armed militias once fourished.
That confict, despite the great losses inficted in lives and
petroleum production, remained largely localized. Islamic
militancy in northern Nigeria, however, has deeper roots,
covers a greater land area, targets a population larger than
that of any other African country except Egypt and Ethiopia,
The Brookings Institution Africa Growth Initiative 25
and can draw inspiration and material support from global
jihadism. Terrorist attacks by Boko Haram, the self-declared
affliate of al-Qaida, have increased in frequency and lethal-
ity. The August 26, 2011 suicide attack that destroyed the
U.N. headquarters in the capital, Abuja, killing 25 persons,
and several bombing incidents on Christmas Day that re-
sulted in even more deaths, convey the huge challenges
now posed by Islamic extremism in Nigeria.
While urgent efforts are being made to improve the coun-
ter-terrorist capacities of Nigerias security forces, and
similar initiatives pursued in this band of insecurity, it is
important to develop a more comprehensive response.
The Obama administration announced in October 2011
the dispatch of 100 armed military advisers to help catch
Joseph Kony, head of the murderous Lord Resistance
Army that once terrorized Uganda. Someday, there could
be many drone aircraft scrutinizing countries beyond So-
malia, counterinsurgency units operatingcovertly and
overtlyon the ground, and more cross-border military
incursions. Such a scenario would indicate the extensive
radicalization that had taken place and the degree to
which expansion of terrorist cells had occured. To keep
this from becoming a reality, a broader global response
is now needed, involving national governments and con-
tinental, regional and non-governmental agencies. Of
particular importance is the need for increased research
by policy scholars on the interwoven economic, political
and security dimensions and their active engagement
with policymakers. Finally, unless innovative approaches
are pursued regarding these three priority challenges
criminality and statelessness in Somalia, a Khartoum re-
gime that continues to rely on unrestrained force, and
deep economic distress in northern Nigeriaany hope of
avoiding more insecurity and insurgencies in this band of
Africa would remain elusive.
26 Foresight Africa: Top Priorities for the Continent in 2012
Vera Songwe
The Priority
Global food prices were high and volatile in 2011, a trend
likely to continue in 2012. The foods in Thailand, the debt
crisis in Europe, rising oil prices and the increased price
of fertilizer and other inputs, unpredictable policy changes
such as the reintroduction of price controls in Kenya, all in-
dicate that global food prices will remain unpredictable in
2012. Despite these challenges, since 2008 many coun-
tries have fnalized new agriculture development strate-
gies based on the African Unions Comprehensive African
Agriculture Development Program (CAADP), which was
launched in 2003 to boost agricultural productivity on the
continent through increased public investment. As of 2011,
26 African countries have fnalized agriculture strategies
and signed CAADP compacts, 15 are already in various
stages of implementation, and 10 are newly engaged or
have yet to start (CAADP, 2011). These compacts focus pri-
marily on improving agriculture inputs through increasing
agriculture production and productivity.
A number of countries in Africa have been successful in
increasing the supply of agricultural products including
Rwanda, Mali, Burkina Faso and Malawi. However, do-
mestic price fuctuations, even in countries with increased
supply, have still continued to be a problem. One reason
is the inability of countries to manage supply and demand
cycles distributed across different regions in their terri-
tory and, therefore, ensure a steady supply throughout
the year. For example, parts of Kenyas Rift Valley ex-
perienced grain surpluses in 2011 despite the drought
in the northeast. Grain prices dropped as farmers with
surpluses faced market access issues to drought stricken
areas and many farmers feared wasted product or sell-
ing their grain at low prices (Shiundu, 2011). If these
issues of managing the storage, marketing and trading of
agriculture commodities are not adequately addressed in
Africa, they will undermine the success achieved in pro-
duction and further increase food price volatility.
Why Is It important?
If African countries fail to secure access to markets and
competitive prices for their farmers, they risk inciting un-
rest in the population similar to the food riots witnessed
in the summer of 2008 and repeated episodes of fam-
ine like the one in the Horn of Africa in 2011. A sudden
increase in the supply of agriculture commodities not
matched by an equivalent increase in demand will cause
The Brookings Institution Africa Growth Initiative 27
decreased prices in food and agricultural products during
the harvest and will leave farmers in debt. Some Mala-
wian maize farmers and Nigerian sorghum farmers have
recently experienced this problem. In the Ivory Coast,
a lack of access to competitive markets for cocoa has
forced many farmers to switch to other cash and food
crops. This is potentially very costly for the government
since it might lead to a drop in export revenues, a rise in
defcits and consequently hurt the governments ability to
provide services to the population. African governments
must therefore address the fundamentals of market sup-
ply and demand to control commodity price volatility, a
long-term component for food security. Short-term emer-
gency responses to food security, such as provisions for
heavily subsidized inputs, will not address Africas food
insecurity problem in the long run and may in fact further
distort prices.
However, available storage for food and agricultural prod-
ucts can help dampen demand when there is a surplus
and bolster supply when there is a shortage. In either
case, it helps to stabilize prices, which maintains farmer
income and consumer access to food. In the absence
of storage facilities, seasonal price fuctuations are even
higher than those witnessed at the international level.
In Tanzania for example, between 2008 and 2010 sea-
sonal fuctuation in grain prices averaged over 250 per-
cent more in regions where buyers did not have access
to storage facilities for grain. But in regions with storage
facilities, price increases did not exceed 130 percent.
What Needs to Happen in 2012?
As implementation of the country agriculture strategies
continues, the CAADP plans should be reviewed and up-
dated to include the issue of storage as an important com-
ponent of the country strategies. While some government
support for agriculture inputs such as seeds and fertilizer
is often recommended, governments should generally not
be in the business of providing storage facilities to farmers.
Typically state marketing boards with a storage mandate
have been effective at managing food prices and security.
Governments must therefore engage the private sector to
encourage their participation in the storage and marketing
process for agricultural and food products. Fortunately, the
consultative nature of the CAADP process allows govern-
ments to include the private sector at a very early stage of
strategy design.
In this regard, African governments should support local
farm-based cooperatives to build community silos for com-
modity collection and primary aggregation. These silos
should be owned by the local communities and the state
should be involved in ensuring that the silos meet accept-
able quality and service standards. Second, African gov-
ernments have a responsibility to put in place a system
for dispute resolution and to ensure that contracts are ap-
propriately designed and respected. Third, governments
should help local communities get access to loans or work
through commercial banks to partially guarantee loans so
that local communities can build silos. Encouraging local
farmer cooperatives to build, own and operate community
silos will also help reduce waste. It is common knowledge
that between 20 to 40 percent of agriculture production
in Africa is lost in transportation. Thus, storage facilities
close to the farm-gate will help increase overall stocks.
Finally, African governments should facilitate the develop-
ment of private sector-run warehouses backed by a ware-
house receipts system.
Under a warehouse receipt fnancing program, agricultural
commodities of a certain quantity and quality are stored in
an accredited warehouse and a receipt is issued against
them. With the appropriate legal framework, these receipts
become negotiable instruments or derivatives that can
be traded, sold, swapped or used for collateral to support
borrowing. The receipts could help farmers adjust trading
decisions and as a result help smooth commodity price
volatility. Government-fnanced warehouses built to sup-
port the operations of now defunct commodity marketing
boards should also be sold or leased to the private sector
to operate. Governments must ensure that the proper pre-
requisites needed to operate the aforementioned fnancing
program are in place. This includes a formal legal enforce-
ment system, warehouse infrastructure, transparent spot-
and-futures markets and derivative instruments.
Ultimately, the business of storage is a risky one that re-
quires farmers and producers to have access to much
greater information sets on current production, demand,
available stocks and future demand patterns when mak-
ing decisions. As a consequence, African governments,
28 Foresight Africa: Top Priorities for the Continent in 2012
farmers and producers will need to develop new tools
to help manage the risk associated with storage. In the
next few years, Africa will see the emergence of innova-
tive fnancial instruments facilitated by a surge in tele-
communication applications designed to facilitate trading
in agriculture commodities. In 2012, African govern-
ments should proactively work with the private sector
to safeguard markets and to design adequate systems
to ensure all farmers have access to these instruments.
Countries should also work with the Food and Agricul-
ture Organization to ensure that farmers have access
to adequate price information under the G-20 endorsed
Agriculture Market Information System program. Further-
more, governments must also ensure that the regulato-
ry frameworks in place in their countries are consistent
with changing international fnancial regulations. Finally,
those African countries working toward signing CAADP
compacts in 2012 and beyond should build a strategy for
grain storage management into their investment plans to
prevent future famines brought on by inadequate storage
and marketing infrastructure.
CAADP. 2011. Countries with Compacts/Investment Plans
Status Update. November 2011. CAADP: Midrand,
South Africa.
Shiundu, Alphonce. 2011. Government Urged to Buy
Excess Maize to Stem Hunger. 12 January 2011. Daily
Nation: Nairobi, Kenya.
The Brookings Institution Africa Growth Initiative 29
Dr. Mbaye Diene, Center for Social and Economic Research
(CRES) Dakar, Senegal*
outh unemployment is a major quandary for Senegal; it inhibits the nations economic
well-being and is certainly an issue for upcoming elections in 2012. Recently, the
extension of the retirement age coupled with a public sector hiring freeze has made it
even more diffcult to fnd jobs. Older employees remain in the labor market while opportuni-
ties for job creation are limited. In response, young people have turned to the informal sec-
tor to survive. This is evident in the capital where more than 43.9 percent of workers from
age 1524 work in the informal sector. Others resort to illegal migration, typically to Europe,
that regularly results in death at sea or deportation. Crime has also become an alternative
for troubled unemployed youth, particularly in drug traffcking, theft and drug-use.
In response to the bleak labor market, the
government of Senegal has developed
strategies to curb youth unemployment.
The Accelerated Growth Strategy has de-
fned a development plan for key sectors to
boost youth employment and economic growth. The sectors with high potential for youth
employment are agriculture, fsheries, textiles, information and communication technology,
and tourism. Additionally, the 20102015 New National Employment Policy supports the
informal sector and aspires to create 700,000 new jobs during the period.
The government has also designed support specifcally for youth projects within the frame-
works of various programs and agencies. Since 2006, Senegal has developed a national
action plan for youth employment. This plan has established an online management in-
formation system to assist youth in their search for job opportunities. The National Fund
for Youth Employment and the National Agency for Youth Employment are two additional
government organizations dedicated to integrating young people into the labor market and
supporting youth-led business projects. These organizations are currently functioning and
are broadly considered effective tools for both educated and non-educated young people.
Many youth do not possess the skills for employment
and young entrepreneurs often face challenges of
limited resources and business networks.
* Mbaye Diene is a Researcher at the Center for Social and Economic Research in Senegal (CRES). More
information about CRES is available at or +221 33-864-77-57.
30 Foresight Africa: Top Priorities for the Continent in 2012
The governments commitment to support young people is an unprecedented, positive ex-
perience, but challenges remain. Many youth do not possess the skills for employment and
young entrepreneurs often face challenges of limited resources and business networks.
These initiatives also have weak donor support; typically their resources come only from
government funds. Senegalese youth must receive help to overcome the specifc employ-
ment problems stemming from a lack of experience and a lack of relationships within the
business community. Expanding access to education for previously excluded youth popula-
tions will increase human capital levels, while informing young people of opportunities will
build their pool of resources. The Senegalese government should support the private sector
in the development of technical and professional training programs, while donors should
support the establishment of statistical surveys of the labor market. To develop entrepre-
neurship skills, donors and governments must facilitate access to fnancial services, busi-
ness management training, and consultative support for start-up businesses. These efforts
to integrate youth into the labor market should be reinforced and expanded to accelerate
growth in Senegal over the next decade.
The Brookings Institution Africa Growth Initiative 31
John Olatunji Adeoti, Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic
Research (NISER)*
he Nigerian economy has great potential for growth and structural change. Over the
last decade, the economy grew at an average annual rate of more than 6 percent.
Yet, even with such positive growth rates, the countrys performance is far below its
potential. The agricultural sector continues to dominate the Nigerian economy, employing
70 percent of the countrys labor force and accounting for 40 percent of GDP. The manufac-
turing sector has by and large stagnated since the late 1990s and contributes only 4 percent
of GDP. Another important sector is the oil industry; while it contributes nearly 95 percent of
total foreign exchange and 70 percent of total revenue, Nigerias oil industry accounts for a
low share of the countrys GDPonly 16 percent in 2010. Nigeria faces many challenges,
the most pressing of which include corrup-
tion and poor management of the oil sector.
In 2012, Nigerian policymakers must prior-
itize these issues as key to unlocking the
countrys growth potential.
Tackling Corruption
Corruption is pervasive across all sectors in Nigeria. Some estimates suggest that between
2000 and 2008, Nigeria lost $130 billion in illicit fnancial outfows (Kar and Curcio, 2011). This
is signifcantly more than the estimated $20 billion in offcial development assistance Nigeria
received from all Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries
during the same period. Nigeria is ranked 143 out of 182 in the 2011 Corruption Perceptions
Index and the high prevalence of corruption imposes a huge burden on business and thus limits
the fow of investment to the country beyond the high margin oil industry. Additionally, Nigeria is
plagued by both grand and petty corruption, with studies confrming that 50 percent of all drugs
sold in Nigerian drugstores in the 1990s were counterfeit (Akunyili, 2005). This has devastat-
ing consequences for health outcomes in the country. In short, all aspects of life in Nigeria are
directly affected by corruption.
Despite government rhetoric, the purported war
against corruption has yielded no signicant result
in abating the problem.
*John Olatunji Adeoti is the Deputy Director of the Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research (NISER).
More information about NISER is available at or +234 02-200612.
32 Foresight Africa: Top Priorities for the Continent in 2012
It is also widely acknowledged that corruption is probably the single most important barrier to
the realization of Nigerias great productive potential. Despite government rhetoric, the purport-
ed war against corruption has yielded no signifcant result in abating the problem. In 2012, the
anti-corruption agencies should come under increased scrutiny and there should be increased
demand for reform in the judicial system to ensure that corruption is genuinely punished. Pro-
gressively more Nigerians are expressing dissatisfaction and the country is likely to witness
growing demands for fairness and a more equitable distribution of the countrys resources,
especially among minority groups. It is therefore important that Nigerian policymakers prioritize
fghting corruption to ensure these demands can be met. Nigerias new president, Goodluck
Jonathan, must fulfll the election promises he made in 2011 to launch an effective anti-corrup-
tion campaign in 2012.
Better Management of Oil Resources
A 2007 article in The Economist posed the question as to whether oil sector reform is possible
in a country where corruption prevails in all aspects of life. This article suggested that reforming
Nigerias oils sector was feasible but would require signifcant commitment and political will from
the Nigerian government. Despite the much needed reforms outlined in the 2009 Petroleum
Industry Bill, the Nigerian oil industry continues to be plagued by corruption, mismanagement
and ineffciency. The awarding of oil licenses and contracts lacks transparency and effective
oversight. Oil companies are also often faced with delays and ineffciencies when dealing with
regulatory government institutions. Theft and mismanagement of oil revenues exacerbate the
fow of illicit funds in Nigeria and limit the industrys potential to promote development.
In 2012, policymakers should prioritize reforms that increase transparency and oversight in the
oil sector as well as increase the effciency of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and
especially the Department of Petroleum Resources tasked with regulating the oil industry. At
present, Nigerians are embroiled in a debate over the removal of the fuel import subsidy. With
better management of oil resources and effcient oversight of the industry, Nigeria should be
able to translate its vast oil wealth into development gains for its people and hence eliminate
the need for a subsidy.
Akunyili, Dora. 2005. Counterfeit and Substandard Drugs, Nigerias Experience: Implications,
Challenges, Actions and Recommendations. Paper presented at World Bank Meeting for
Key Interest Groups in Health. Washington, DC.
Kar, Dev and Karly Curcio. 2011. Illicit Financial Flows from Developing Countries: 20002009.
Global Financial Integrity: Washington, DC.
The Economist. 2007. Nigeria: Reforming the oil industry. 27 September, 2007. Print Edition:
Abuja, Nigeria.
The Brookings Institution Africa Growth Initiative 33
Carlene Van Der Westhuizen, Development Policy Research Unit at
the University of Cape Town in South Africa (DPRU)*
ypically, the pursuit of economic growth is associated with concomitant improvements in
the living standards and welfare of the population. However, this link between growth and
welfare gains is not always obvious. South Africa is a good example of a country where a
record of economic growth has not necessarily translated into improvements in economic well-
being for the majority of the population. South Africa has generally experienced economic growth
since its transition to democracy in 1994, but has not seen the type of attendant gains in welfare
one might have hoped for. These have been stifed, in large part, on account of the countrys high
and increasing inequality. How policymakers address this issue impacts a wide range of devel-
opment outcomes. We suggest that an important priority for policymakers in 2012 is to focus on
narrowing inequalities by expanding economic opportunities to all members of that society.
From 19952005, South Africa experienced
an average, annualized growth rate of ap-
proximately 3.4 percent. This growth also co-
incided with improvements in poverty. The headcount poverty rate, calculated using a poverty
line of South Africa rand R322 per month in 2000 prices, declined by fve percentage points over
the same time period. Importantly, this positive result is generally robust regarding poverty lines.
Yet, economic disparities have worsened. On the basis of per capita expenditure, data suggests
that the country experienced a rise in income inequality, with its Gini coeffcient increasing from
0.64 in 1995 to 0.69 in 2005. In other words, economic growth was enjoyed by a declining share
of the population, making poverty reduction gains harder to realize. Had inequality remained
constant since 1995, it is estimated that economic growth would have resulted in a 29 per-
centage point drop in household poverty, instead of a much more modest fve point decrease.
Viewed broadly, South Africa may be the most consistently unequal country in the world.
This inequality brings with it tremendous societal problems. The Diagnostic Overview, released
by the South Africas National Planning Commission in June 2011, highlighted the potential
threats associated with high levels of inequality including crime, corruption and social exclusion.
Viewed broadly, South Africa may be the most
consistently unequal country in the world.
* Carlene Van Der Westhuizen is a Senior Researcher at the Development Policy Research Unit (DPRU) at the
University of Cape Town in South Africa. More information about DPRU is available at http://www.commerce.uct. or +27 21-650-5702.
34 Foresight Africa: Top Priorities for the Continent in 2012
Another, less mentioned cost, is the potential for political destabilization. One of the striking
features of the inequality trend in South Africa is that, unlike in the past when the most notable
character of inequality was the differences between ethnic groups, today inequality has been
increasing within ethnic groups especially among black South Africans. In fact, increasingly, the
recent rivalry within the ruling party African National Congress (ANC) refects dissatisfaction
amongst segments of the membership, especially youth, due to the few economic opportunities
available. In 2012, these issues may be particularly contentious as in December the ANC holds
its national conference to select a 2014 presidential candidate. More broadly, if unchecked this
inequality could translate into instability as recently evidenced in Arab countries.
The countrys inequality has risen in spite of increasing government redistribution. Arguably,
the country now possesses one of the best developed social protection systems among
all middle income economies. Its grant expenditures increased by 26 percent annually be-
tween 20012002 and 20052006 and, in 2005, it dispensed grants to some 9 million in-
dividuals. As a result of these government measures, poor households have witnessed an
increase in their expenditures since 1995. Unfortunately, however, these gains have not
been realized through sustainable employment.
In sum, we have the following story: Consistently positive levels of economic growth since 1994
contributed to a healthy revenue base for government. The state was able to utilize this revenue
to redistribute income in the form of social security grants and beneft the poor. An analysis
comparing per capita household income with and without income from social grants shows that
the levels of income inequality would have been even higher in the absence of the governments
social protection system. Yet, on the whole, the poor have not been the direct benefciaries of
economic growth.
Critically, it remains unclear whether this cycle, from growth to redistributive revenues, is sus-
tainablea question that the countrys government should think deeply about. In 2012, changes
to its current strategy might be in order, especially those which allow the gains from economic
growth to become more intertwined with welfare improvements. In the absence of such policy
changes, the risks and problems of continuing redistribution and rising inequality in 2012 are
high. Policy makers must seek to reduce inequality in order to ensure that 2012 is a year that
preserves South Africas political and economic stability as well as improves the economic well-
being of the majority of the population
The Brookings Institution Africa Growth Initiative 35
Mwangi S. Kimenyi, Brookings Africa Growth Initiative
2012 will be the year that Kenya either transitions into a unifed, progressive state or regresses
to a fragmented society characterized by the type of ethnic divide that existed before the 2007
general elections. It will be the year when either constitutionalism is entrenched in society or
poor governance and impunity continue unabated. Four issuesthe International Criminal
Court Process, the 2012 general elections, the implementation of the devolved constitution,
and the war on Al-Shabaabwill be particularly important in infuencing the economic, political
and social developments in the country.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) Process
Following the 20072008 post-election confict that resulted in over 1,300 deaths, hundreds of
injuries and thousands of displaced persons, the International Criminal Court (ICC) named six
Kenyans as the main instigators of the violence. Their hearings were completed in 2011, with the
fnal decision confrming the charges, but no announcement yet of whether the six will face a full
trial. Kenyans have varying opinions on how
the process was conducted. Many interpret it
as overtly political. In particular, some critics
believe the process targeted prominent indi-
viduals who would otherwise be presidential
candidates in 2012. This view gained support during the initial hearings as it appeared the ICC
had not conducted particularly thorough investigations. Others, including members of the defen-
dants communities, viewed the accusations through an ethnic angle. This is why the process, if
viewed as unfair, could split the country along ethnic lines. The fact remains, however, that crimes
against humanity were committed and that failure to punish the main culprits would mean continu-
ing a culture of impunity. The ICCs decision, expected early in 2012, will confrm the charges or
not. But the decision itself, and how the government and Kenyans react to it, will impact the future
of the country in both the short and long-run.
The 2012 General Elections
Kenya expects to hold national elections under the recently promulgated constitution and, while
debate continues as to the exact date on when they are to be held, many expect the High Court
of Kenya will set them for 2012. The elections will not only include the races for the positions of
the presidency, deputy presidency and membership of the national assembly, but because of
the new constitution and the devolved structures it calls for, they will also include the positions
2012 will be the year that Kenya either transitions
into a unied, progressive state or regresses to a
fragmented society...
36 Foresight Africa: Top Priorities for the Continent in 2012
of senators, county governors and many other local representatives. How the elections are
managed will be critically important in determining the future of the country. Kenyans will either
accept the results and communities will unite behind their elected president and other leaders,
or they will consider the process unfair and resort to confict similar to that seen in 2007-2008.
Even more important is whether the general election will produce forward-looking, progressive
leaders who are committed to supporting the implementation of the new constitution.
Implementation of the Devolved Constitution
Kenya has adopted complex devolved structures of governance. The constitution has created
a new level of governmentthe county levelto be headed by an executive governor. In total,
there are 47 counties that vary widely in terms of population, income levels and capacity. While
in theory the devolved structures aim to improve the governance of the country, increase citi-
zen participation and improve accountability, implementing the constitutions aimswork set to
commence in 2012will be a momentous challenge and will be a major factor impacting the
prospects of the country. Some fear that devolution could exacerbate regional inequalities and,
in some cases, increase polarization between communities within the same counties.
War on Al-Shabaab
At the end of 2011, Kenya was heavily involved in the war against the Al-Shabaab terrorist orga-
nization deep inside Somali territory. While other countries and international organizations have
committed support towards the dismantling of the terror group, Kenyas involvement remains
the most substantial. In addition to the costs of its resource commitments, its efforts come with
heightened risksincluding increased terror activities that target Kenyans and an infux of refu-
gees from Somalia to Kenya. Whether the war concludes successfully in 2012 will impact the
countrys peace and economic performance prospects.
These highlighted issues will be critical to Kenyas future in 2012 and for many years to come.
All are important challenges that have serious risks for the country. Alternatively, these chal-
lenges could be turned into opportunities to build a stronger, more progressive nation. Of all
these issues, the one dealing with the ICC process is the most daunting; it should be addressed
carefully both by Kenyans and the international community. Given the violent election in 2007,
it is also absolutely critical that the country be fully prepared to ensure electoral fairness and
transparency in 2012 and to deal appropriately with any instigators of violence. Finally, in the
war against Al-Shabaab, Kenya must continue to seek international cooperation against the ter-
ror group and aim to return its troops home before the end of 2012.
Cover Photos (Clockwise from left): John Hogg/World Bank, Hansjoerg Richter, Ivan Bajic, Guenter Guni
1775 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036